Skip to main content
508 POLITICAL SCIENCE.
is apt to plant in the minds of a nation. Perhaps the best
way of managing them might be to fix a limit of property
and reserve the power of suppression to the state.
5. Apart from these more striking cases, there are multitudes
of others where questions touching the church or churches of
a land must come before the courts. Such are disputes be-
tween rival sets of trustees touching the right of managing
religious property ; questions touching the contract between
a minister and a people in regard to the payment of his salary,
or to other points in the contract of settlement ; questions of
orthodoxy in a case where a certain part of the pew-holders
or church-members contend against a minister or trustees
that they are untrue to their declarations of faith made on
taking office ; or such as relate to the right to use the church
edifice for certain purposes aside from religious worship, and
so on. Disputes of this kind must sometimes arise in vast
Christian denominations, which are capable of holding prop
erty and making contracts. But the principles of law and
equity on which such disputes are decided by state courts are
none other than well settled legal principles, applicable to
similar cases arising in secular corporations and associations.
To which we may add that the courts are comparatively im-
partial ; while church courts, where a case strongly interests
a community, would be unsafe arbiters and by no means fit
to be trusted.
In many codes of laws we find crimes against religion pun-
crimes against re- >shed with severity. Instances drawn from
Athenian law have been given already, and it has -
appeared what penalty Plato and Cicero would impose on
offences against religion. The author of the treatise concern-
ing virtues and vices found among Aristotle's works (chap.
vii., Didot's ed., ii., 246), calls impiety or acre/SeLa one of the
three kinds of injustice, and defines it as a fault towards the
gods, daemons, the dead, parents, and country. The Hebrew
law punished blasphemy, 2.^., as it is defined in Lev., xxiv.,